Surely RuPaul’s Drag Race and Queer Eye aren’t the only escapist, queer reality series we deserve, right? There have been plenty of attempts — The A-List, anyone? — but what if we tried creating series about the gay community that don’t traffic in exhausting cat fights and boozy, bitchy brunches? Here are five that could premiere tomorrow. Are you there, Netflix? It’s me, Nance.
(And if you haven’t yet, definitely check out Men.com’s Slag Wars, hopefully a harbinger of things to come for queer reality series.)
Gay Bar Rescue
Every LGBTQ watering hole is on the chopping block in these COVID days and nights—but what if a team of specialists swooped in, once nightlife is given the all-clear to return? While keeping the core identity of our beloved spaces intact, they upgrade everything from the lighting to the bathrooms, while offering patrons plenty of chances to share personal stories about the sentimental journeys they’ve had there. And every episode ends with a blowout party, welcoming back the old favorite to the gayborhood.
The Golden G-String
When bars and clubs reopen, promoters and nightlife bosses will need to fill all their usual slots—including the one reserved for beautiful, oiled up muscle men shaking their junk for dollar bills. What better way to draw attention to the plight of gay nightlife than a sexy reality competition in which men compete to see who’s got the goods to stand on a bar in a thong and a pair of work boots? And for co-hosts, how about Michael Urie, whose sweet good nature will cut through any sense of prurience, and Laverne Cox, who will offer the necessary tough love?
We are beyond due for a no-holds-barred, sexy, scandalous, behind-the-scenes documentary series about a group of porn stars living, loving, and fucking on the West Coast. From the carpooling to shoots to the long days on the set and longer nights trying to date civilians, this is the backstage peek that porn fans would eat up. And it would offer performers a real shot at going mainstream.
As much as conservative politicians and radio hosts might like to deny it, lots of gay men are religious. So how about a series that follows the congregations of gay and gay-friendly churches? The show wouldn’t be preachy — pun intended — but it would give us a fascinating look at how gay men deal with faith, hope, and charity. Plus, the opportunities for musical numbers boggle the mind! Praise the Lord, and pass the Go Fund Me!
Picture an entire series in which trans women are allowed the freedom and ability to tell their own stories. A series presenting them as going about their daily lives and sharing their joys and defeats could do for the trans community what Drag Race did for the drag community. With this kind of representation putting faces on the issues, America will have the chance to fall in love with the cast and promptly place this firmly in the camp of relevant issues for everyone, where it rightly belongs.